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JULY 2006


Minnesota is one of top recycling states in the U.S.

St. Paul, MN— Minnesota is the second best recycling state in the nation, according to a national survey.

According to the latest BioCycle annual survey, “The State of Garbage,” Minnesota has the second highest recycling rate in the nation (43.2%) behind only Oregon (45.2%). Minnesota also has the third highest number of curbside recycling programs (730) behind New York (1,500) and Pennsylvania (974).

There are several reasons Minnesota ranks near the top, according to the Recycling Association of Minnesota.

  • Minnesota charges a Solid Waste Management Tax on garbage but not on recycling. “That makes garbage more expensive and recycling more attractive,” reports Paul Gardner, executive director of the association. “Minnesota businesses in particular save millions by recycling instead of throwing away material.”
  • Some of the revenue from the Solid Waste Management Tax (SWMT) goes to Minnesota’s counties to support recycling, composting, and waste reduction opportunities. Counties are also required to provide recycling opportunities to state residents. (Additional SWMT revenue helps to clean up old landfills, and about 20 percent of the revenue stays in the state’s general fund.)
  • About 75 percent of Minnesota residents have curbside recycling service. Virtually every community in the seven-county Twin Cities metro area has curbside collection.

Minnesota set recycling goals of 50 percent in the Twin Cities metro area and 35 percent in Greater Minnesota. Greater Minnesota has met that goal and more, while the metro area hovers just under its goal of 50 percent.

Recycling has given the state many environmental benefits. Since it takes less energy to make new products from recycled materials, the state conserved 5.75 million trees in one year. Recycling also reduced the need to produce enough energy to power 615,000 homes and to produce greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of 2.3 million cars.

Minnesota is also one of the nation’s biggest waste exporters. The state is number nine in the country for total garbage exports by weight. The top eight waste exporters include Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Missouri, Washington, Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Ohio.

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